It is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years.
But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.”
For your entire life, you’ve been told to hide your differences.
You’ve been told to fit in, and be like everybody else. After all, the kids that fit in don’t get picked on. The kids that fit in don’t cause trouble. The kids that fit in go on to become fine upstanding citizens.
What if I told you that it’s okay to be different?
That there’s a group of people who are waiting for you to embrace your differences?
That those who make fun of you for being different are the very people who will need your help?
My dear nerd fitness rebel, there is a war coming.
Are you sure you’re on the right side?
You’re a mutant, embrace it
Let’s be honest – you’re a mutant.
Yeah, you might not have blue skin, adamantium running through your body (yeah, not a power but bear with me), or the ability to change shapes at will, but you are still vastly different than everybody around you:
- You’re the ONE person in your group of friends who wants a better future.
- You’re the ONE person in your office who wants to get in shape and eat better.
- You’re the ONE person in your family who believes you deserve a better life.
It’s tough, I know. After all, being different makes you an easy target. You’ll hear it from everybody – “why do you have to be so weird?” or “come on, join us!” After hearing this day in, day out, for so many years…you might even start to believe them. You might start to wonder if it would be easier to just conform and go with the flow.
And then you take a closer look at the people who you are considering trying to be more like:
- Out of shape
- Have a litany of healthy problems
- Up to their eyeballs in consumer debt
- Living a life that leaves them unfulfilled
- Generally unhappy.
SCREW THAT. Yeah, you ARE different from those people.
Identify your differences
Are you the girl with superhuman strength? Are you the guy who has iron willpower and can say yes or no to ANYTHING? Maybe you can transform at a moment’s notice for any skill required. Maybe you run more marathons than should be humanly possible.
What makes you different?
If you’re not different yet…HOW do you want to be different? What skill do you possess that makes you stand out from the crowd?
Me personally? I have an unique ability to synthesize boring, intimidating information in the nerdiest, most accessible way possible.
I don’t quite fit into most nerd circles. Yeah, I’ve read all of the Harry Potter books multiple times. I’ve built my own computer. I’ve devoted years of my life to Everquest and Everquest 2, and the first thing I bought after coming back from my 14 month trip was a Playstation 3.
I enjoy being a nerd, but that’s not all I am.
I also love exercising, but I don’t quite fit into that conventional demo either. I get weird looks every time I set foot in a normal gym. I wear funky shoes on my feet. My ripped t-shirt and shorts I bought a decade ago aren’t going to win any fashion awards. While everybody around me is running on a treadmill like a hamster or doing their 47th bicep curl exercise…I hanging plates off a weight belt to do weighted chin ups. I’m usually foaming at the mouth and jumping around with my eyes closed in between heavy deadlift sets.
And don’t even get me started on how I don’t fit most entrepreneur/businessman molds either. I’m sure I do most things counter to how you SHOULD run a business, and I don’t care…hell, I rarely put pants on these days! (too much info?)
I don’t quite fit in anywhere, and I love it.
They’ll shun you til they need you
As it has been said in the X-men movies, “Mankind has always feared what it doesn’t understand.”
And this quote from Nightcrawler (my personal favorite X-men) sums up my thoughts about our less evolved neighbors: “You know, outside the circus, most people were afraid of me. But I didn’t hate them. I pitied them. Do you know why? Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes.”
I’m not going to lie to you – it’s going to be tough to be different:
- You’ll get made fun of when you say no to birthday cake at the office today.
- Your friends will goad you into skipping your next workout to play video games
- You’ll get funny looks the next time you’re in the gym doing your workout.
- Your family will ask you to be normal when you tell them how you’re eating.
These are people who are afraid of being left behind and/or afraid of what they don’t know. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do for them yet – trying to force them to adapt to your point of view is a recipe for disaster…for they are not ready.
Instead, wear their snide comments and insults like a badge of honor. You are the one who is mutating and evolving. You cannot force motivation on others – you can only inspire with your actions.
Days, months, or years from now, when you are operating at a higher level of existence and health, the questions will start to show up:
- “hey, so what was that site you told me about three years ago?”
- “hey, I’m thinking of getting in shape – what do you think of this workout plan?”
- “can you help me with this?”
This is not the time to gloat – but rather the time to help and support. Remember, it took years before the switch flipped in YOUR head. Everybody operates on their own timetable, so when its their turn to change, they’ll let you know.
Focus on evolving yourself.
Your friends, families, and loved ones will come around eventually.
Understand you are not alone
Every day, the evil forces of obesity, laziness, and apathy grow.
Fortunately, every day its resistance grows even stronger.
I’m talking about a group of people who work hard to embrace their differences and help out their fellow mutants.
No, not the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. (But that would be sweet if it actually existed.)
I’m talking about the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.
We understand that being different is the only way that we will progress as a species. We understand that being different will provide us with unique perspectives that could lead us to breakthrough revelations and new solutions.
So bring your differences, bring your unique perspective, but check your biases and reservations at the door. We’re all learning from each other every day, and we’re all feeding off the successes of each other.
There’s a war coming…
Professor Charles Xavier said it best: “When an individual acquires great power, the use or misuse of that power is everything, will it be used for the greater good or will it be used for personal or destructive ends? Now this is a question we must all ask ourselves.
Why, because we are mutants.”
Thanks for being part of this funky group of mutants over here at Nerd Fitness.
So let’s hear it: What’s your unique ability?
PS – NF San Fran Meetup Tonight – Harry’s Bar around 7PM – Come grab a beer (or whatever) and meet your fellow San Fran rebels!
49 thoughts on “Are You a Mutant? Embrace it.”
The post I wish I wrote. Well done, Steve!
I am a mutant!
I like to think that my mutant ability is knowing what people need to do to improve themselves (sort of a professor X gig) but sadly that often results in me being frustrated that my friends won’t get healthy. So I’m going to add a power to my list soon: superhuman agility. I spent all day yesterday watching Ido Portal. he’s my new hero and I’m going to start doing his workouts and make myself oddly agile and marvelously mobile.
My unique ability? Being naturally fit. It’s a blessing and a curse. I can always throw down a 6:30 mile, no matter what I do. I can go months without running and do that. But it’s curse, because I have less reason to exercise. “I’m already healthy. I’m faster and stronger than MOST my friends.. I don’t need to exercise..” That is my argument.
I’m starting to do parkour to get into super fit shape, while still having fun AND looking like a superhero.
Great post Steve, dead on!
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other
people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out
your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow
your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
Fantastic post. I spent the first nearly three decades of my life desperate to fit in and be “liked”. All that quest got me was overweight and unhealthy from angst that pursuit caused. Then, I got a clue, found someone who loved me and helped me be ME. Now, I take pride in my mutancy. I revel in the incredulous stares of my coworkers as I head through the office with my gym bag as I head out for a mutant lunch run on a 20 degree day.
kinda reminded me of a post i read on a blog. http://escapetheherdblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/im-abnormal-and-loving-it.html
Very inspirational thank you. I always feel a little weird carrying trainers to work, changing my shoes at lunch, and going for a 30 min walk. I feel weird for thinking before I choose whether or not to eat the cake or croissants in the office instead of scoffing it down. I feel weird for asking for fruit with my sandwich instead of crisps or chocolate. But hey you’re right. Weird is cool.
I absolutely LOVE this post. It really resonated with me. I recently found myself dreading telling my housemates about some of my healthy goals, because I knew they would consider it “extreme” and deride it. And yes, it was embarrassing as hell at first, and they were not very supportive.
But after that, something magical happened! They saw how dedicated I was and I think I’ve actually inspired them a bit. Now, they keep asking me about Paleo and want to use my pull-up bar. I really think they just wanted to feel included. No matter how resistant you think your friends might be, they probably are pretty curious about your goals. Let them be a part of it (indirectly—not by imposing), and you’ll be rewarded! For me, one of the reasons I want to get fit is to inspire others, so it feels great.As for my special power: I decided just the other day, after trudging to the grocery store in insanely deep snow to pick up some healthy food and feeling like a badass, that my special power is definitely the ability to use my imagination in order to enjoy things that other people would consider inconvenient or bothersome.
As a literature nerd and writer, I LOVE your Joseph Campbell take. And also your costume/music choice. 🙂
Great post! “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity. “-Rollo May
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Thankfully in my office I’m not the only “keep fit” freak and I often chat to my colleagues about running, working out and healthy eating. At home is a little trickier as although my mum seems to be inadvertantly following the Paleo diet, she still insists on cooking me heap loads of pasta and grains!
Never heard this quote before… but I love it and want to make baby quotelets with it.
Thanks Julianne! Nerd Ladies, Unit!
I’ve had a really long difficult year trying to lose weight – not making much progress due to some health issues and just trying to figure out what “it” will be that’s going to work for me. It’s so tempting to go back to the easy stuff, like the medical weight loss clinic — but I didn’t, and I WON’T.
My mutant power is seeing my future as a bunch of possibilities. I won’t make the mistake of being trapped by seeing my future, no, because I’m on secher nbiw, the golden path. No Kwisatz Haderach for me!
My mutant power is the ability to see the future and to identify which bits of it I can affect. This is a great motivation for keeping fit. 🙂
Awesome awesome post! Ever since i started picking up heavier weights and eating Paleo, my family and friends think i’m weird. There have been times when i’ll be in the only chick using the Oly bar – but now i just shrug it off, if being a ‘mutant’ means loving my body by lifting heavy and eating clean – so be it! My unique ability? Persistence and discipline – i’ll get up at 4.30am on a Saturday if that’s the only way i can fit a workout in.
My mutant power is the ability to see trouble and stir it up. People always get cranky; but I’m not starting the fire, I’m here to make sure it gets put out. In the end, I (almost) always use it for good.
I keep trying to get “Bearer of Bad News” added to my business cards. So far, no employer has let me go for it.
Super-human flexiblity? I can adapt to any situation, any time, any where. =)
I ha e been called SOW workout fiend ( skinny older white woman) by the guys at the gymwhile my trainer has me labeled as an overachiever. Me I am just having a good time .
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhi Embracing what makes you different is sometimes hard but in the end its what makes us human, or mutant in the case of this post! Thanks Steve.
OMG, you wrote this just for me. Thanks. The hardest part is dealing with the s.o. that doesn’t get it though it’s accepted for me to improve. Lack of vision there. Someday…..
Wow. How am I just now discovering your blog?
I F**CKING LOVED THIS POST!
Being left handed ? 😉
My mutant power is being able to pick my battles well. I’m a short, fat dude from a family entirely made up of short, fat people. It would be senseless to try and become a marathon runner or a master yogi – working against my natural body type would make for progress so slow that I would inevitably get frustrating after a short while. But, I can lift heavy and meet with enough success in strength training that it’s a self-reinforcing activity that’s sustainable for a long while.
I’m an autistic nerd. I have uncanny powers of perception and nearly animal level senses. I will attempt to use them for good by becoming physically coordinated as well. I have messed around with MMA and Historical Western Martial Arts for years. (Sword fighting. Yes, like Aragorn. Technically more like Lichtenhauer if you know who he is.) Now I’ve been sick for a quarter of a year and facing the hardest battle of my life: Physical rehab. He we go.
This is one of my favorite posts on any site ever (and I’ve read an unnatural amount of them). I’m usually the first one in the gym after school, and I’ll be halfway through my second set when my friends are all complaining about being held five minutes late. I don’t ‘go out’ on weekends, and I’ve been told to start eating ‘normally’ more times than I can count, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I’m lifting more, running faster (or at all), and feeling better (oh, and I’m closer than ever to the abs I’ve been chasing for 4 years), and that more than makes up for the comments and weird looks. It’s great to hear that I’m not the crazy one for wanting to build myself better.
What about the “Steve Kamb Institute of Higher Fitness”?
Loving this site, wish I found it years ago. this post is awesome. I just signed up for my gym’s fitness competition. As for my mutant power–well I don’t have a cool one yet. I am just a steady work-horse atm, with big dreams. I hear that will get me there.
so vibrams still aren’t normal?
good for you joe…
mahn to say its today after a gazillion years that i happen to read this article ( knucklebump steve!)
so today i had to go get launch and nothing healthy….so i ordered organs …like kidney liver and gizzards ( yeah we eat that) and salad with no dressing cos theirs is mayo………..and i got the “look” like i was some alien ..NOTE in my country you dont eat just meat alone, you rice n meat or yam n meat …anything and meat…u get
the funny part is am tall and big and i ordered that to hold me for 5hrs..everyone kept giving me the look……so since i have read this am just a mutant and different amma be wolverine….yeah i just love that mutant ( yes am a lady) …hahaha
I am so unique, it’s sometimes hard to tell I am even a person! I live by my own rules and my own code and no one expects me to act any differently. I have long-ago established I are not one of them. Not that I care what they think anyway.
idk if am a mutant but when people make me sad or angry i can control myself its like i have a blurry vision and my body is controlling itself can somebody tell what it is?
Well, let’s see. So far, I have learned I have many mutant abilities within the 32 years I’ve been on this earth. I’m a late bloomer, and as a child, even though I was semi-intelligent, I was weak and socially inept. Though hardship, many hardship, I’ve learned to be in-touch with my abilities. They are as followed: super-intelligence (only in certain areas, but I have found my intelligence can reach any field if I try), heightened sense of intuition (I usually know about events before they happen, and I can read people like a book when I first meet them), super healing (for example, I fractured one of my figures and it was healed in a week with good nutrition), super strength (this I have accomplished with the use of my ki, and I’ve learned to channel it. People have tested it, they have failed), I have the ability to stay up for 3 or four days without rest, and many, many others. I guess you could say, I’m a jack of all trades, but all-in-all, I’ve learned through hardship that I’m just a tough ass motherfucker from the womb. I should be dead. My two children are even more so in their own right, am I’m trying to teach them without the use of hardship.
I am an pre-teen mutant. I am an empath. I can lift fifty pounds with my biceps. I can not read your mind but, i can understand it. i’ve been alive for 11 years. i have asthma. i have s.p.d. ( i feel more pain then the average homosapien.) my i.q. is 117 (weak, i know.) i have anaphalaxys to nuts. i had a blood transfusion. my triplet died at birth. life is great.
Im a mutant and afraid someone please help me
I am a mutant, I can to some extent control fire and heat with my mind and I can communicate with animals
im really know than i im a mutant i can see the future…. and i need to talk with people like me….help me pls….
i need people like me….
My mutant ability(thats in our family genes), is extremely fast reaction time, in all 6 fights ive been in ive blocked every attempt at a strike.